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Old Time Trains


Canadian Northern Ontario

Gas-electric self-propelled car.

CNoR 500 Wason Mfg. Co. (sub. of Brill, Springfield, Mass.) CGE 3718 October 1911.
Canadian National 15064A

This 60 passenger gas-electric 57 foot combine had an open rear platform.
Canadian Northern was the first railway in Canada to have a self-propelled passenger car
with an internal combustion engine. It was the only one Canadian Northern had.
CNoR was the first Canadian and sixth customer of GE-Wason cars.
Less than 100 in grand total were built.

500 operated between Toronto and Trenton on April 13, 1912 following which
it operated 32 miles on the Central Ontario between Trenton and Picton in April 1912.
Summer 1912 it ran between Quebec City and Lake St.Joseph
(where there was a railway-owned hotel)
on Quebec and Lake St.John a CNoR subsidiary.
Fall 1912 it returned to CNoR between Napanee-Trenton-Picton.
Car had a fire in 1915 at Trenton. Rebuilt 1916 by CC&F in Montreal.
June 1, 1920 operated a frequent local service between Winnipeg and Transcona.

1921 became CNR 15800, in 1923 rebuilt by NS&T to battery-electric.
1931 rebuilt to 87 passenger trailer re# 15748. Scrapped 11/1940 at Leaside.

Belleville Circa 1912 Harold Reid

This car was a pioneer effort for the new Canadian National Railways and a long line of self-propelled cars by a number of builders followed and carried on for many years. Like many railways throughout North America these self-propelled cars were an effort to reduce operting costs on light traffic lines or runs. Potential savings were significant not only for coal and other costs to operate a steam locomotive pulling one or two cars but primarily crew wages would could be reduced from five men to two. The earliest cars were gas-mechanical and proved very unreliable. Steam and even battery-electric cars were built. Newer ones were gas-electric and oil-electric. They were often more successful but still were less reliable than a steam locomotive. It wasn't until 1949 and the Budd company's Rail Diesel Car ( R.D.C. ) that a really successful self-propelled car came along. Some still continue in use 60 years later thanks in part to their stainless steel construction.





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